Ex-Blues rower Simon Hislop, a member of last year’s winning boat race crew, has posed naked in a photo shoot designed to make men more aware of the risks of cancer for the Blue September campaign.
The other men photographed are from Warwick University rowing club, including one cancer survivor. According to organiser and photographer Angus Malcolm, it is ‘bolder and sexier than the standard Blue September campaign.’
The project was organised by Malcolm for free. ‘Everybody [did] it in their spare time for goodwill … any money we had, we spent on paint and beer’.
He describes himself as ‘interested in how you can use erotica for the public good’, and hopes that the photo shoot will ‘demonstrate that you can always turn to your friends’.
Hislop has himself recovered from testicular cancer, with the first symptoms appearing only weeks before his final exams. Now a doctor, he says, ‘Young guys need to check themselves regularly – and they should definitely pester their GPs if they suspect something.’
Other members of last year’s Blues rowing squad have shown support for Hislop’s efforts. Daniel Harvey said, ‘I think it’s great that Simon is using the popularity of rowing and the boat race to raise awareness of testicular cancer.’
Karl Hudspith commented, ‘His attempts to raise awareness by stripping off for a photo shoot show that men should not be embarrassed about knowing their own bodies and getting help from others if they think something is unusual.’
Men are 40% more likely than women to die of cancer, and 70% more likely than women to die from a cancer which can affect either gender. 81,000 men die from cancer in the UK each year.
Dr Emily Power at Cancer Research UK told Cherwell, ‘It’s important that men get to know their bodies so they know what’s normal for them and can spot any changes more easily. Spotting cancer early can make a real difference, so if men notice any unexplained or persistent changes in their health it’s important to get it checked out by a doctor.’
Chief executive of the Men’s Health Forum, Peter Baker, warned, ‘Too many men are dying unnecessarily because they take risks with their lifestyles and ignore symptoms.’